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EU May Abolish List of Epidemiologically Safe Third Countries for Travel

The Council of the European Union may soon abolish the list of epidemiologically safe third countries for travelers from which member states have reopened their borders since mid-2020.

In a recommendation revealed on Tuesday, February 22, the European Union lifted its ban on non-essential travel from third countries for those vaccinated against COVID-19 who have recovered from the disease.

At the same time, in a press release issued regarding the recommendation, the council noted that in order to remove restrictions on all travelers from a third country, regardless of vaccination and recovery status, that third country must have recorded fewer than 100 COVID cases. -19 per 100,000 citizens in two weeks. It should have the same 600 weekly test rate for the same population.

Other existing criteria continue to apply, including a stable or decreasing trend in new cases, a 4 percent positivity rate among all tests performed, progress in vaccination, the presence of variables of interest or concern and the overall response to COVID-19 in country,” the council notes, further adding that reciprocity must continue to be taken into account for both.

However, the council’s recommendation claims that it would be appropriate for member states to start moving to a people-based approach when it comes to entry restrictions, even for travelers from third countries. The majority of EU countries already implement such an approach for travelers from other EU members.

The Board is due to make a decision on the matter by April 30, 2022, reports.

“To give time for third countries to increase their vaccination rates, the recommendation should be reviewed by April 30, 2022, by the Commission, to consider deleting the list of countries. The Board announced that the Committee should report to the Board and could submit to it a proposal to delete the list, if that suitable.

The Council of the European Union first presented its list of epidemiologically safe third countries on 15 June 2020, in an effort to gradually reopen borders to countries with low rates of COVID-19 infection.

The list has been reviewed periodically and modified according to the situation of the Corona virus in each country in the world. While member states are not legally bound to implement it, the council has recommended that they build their national lists of safe third countries on this list.

The list currently consists of:

Bahrain Chile China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity Colombia Indonesia Kuwait New Zealand Peru Qatar Rwanda Saudi Arabia South Korea United Arab Emirates Uruguay

>> The Council of the European Union removes Argentina, Australia and Canada from the list of safe third countries

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